I guess this sort of falls in between a review and a selfless promotion for the series... if you're not reading this series at the moment give it a try! It's a finite series currently in it's fourth, and last volume. It's like game of thrones or lord of the rings but then set in the small world of mice! I've tried to keep it spoiler free as I wouldn't want to spoil it for anybody who decides to start reading the series and isn't up to speed on the story.
So, I must admit that I'd been out of the comics scene for some years before fairly recently starting again. It must have been a stop of around 10 years or something and seeing the number of awesome stories I've missed makes me regret not jumping back in sooner. But thankfully, there's a lot of great series still around and I've found this to be one of them. I mean, what's not to like? It's got its classic heroes and villians, a story of epic proportions, great battles, personal loss, dabbles a lot in myths and legends, centers around mice (which is a nice change of scenery), and tells the tale of becoming something more than you'd ever thought you could be, along with all the doubts and hesitations that go with it. Together with Powers, B.P.R.D., Atomic Robo and Hellboy it's one of my monthly pick-ups and I can't wait to see the direction in which it goes!
I've caught up through the previous volumes through the hardcover editions and am currently following volume 4. I can't wait to see what direction it will go but I am sure it will be a thrilling and intense ride as the various characters and their paths cross during the coming issues. So, why do I think it's great?! Let me try to explain by giving my view on some of the characters and the world it's set in.
It's about mice you say! Yes it is, but I found this to be a refreshing change from reading about people continuously. Even so, I think everybody can relate to the story, thoughts and feelings of some of the characters, be they mice or men. It also allows cool things to happen in the story. During the course of the story so far they have been fighting wolves, snakes, cats, and a hawk (among others). I don't think this would be as interesting if it was people against animals
. There's also the interesting twist of 'crossing over into the other realm' (read: day and night). We all know that certain animals are nocturnal while others are not and it's used in a very interesting way here. I found myself thinking 'this makes sense' several times while these changes occurred so kudos to that!
Karic, the hero of the story. What a journey he is on! The start of the journey is tragic and is something you wouldn't wish on anybody. He goes from being a kid to becoming the hero for a race (I think I could say race here) over the course of a few seasons. At first he doesn't understand what is happening but as time goes by he slowly start to gain an understanding and an appreciation for the opportunity he has been given. Who wouldn't dream of being able to save everybody and everything you know and make the world a better place? Of course, this is a slow and dangerous journey, and more than once we find Karic wondering why he was chosen to be on this path. I think the ups and downs of such a personal development are perfectly displayed through the issues. The belief and confidence growing as things go right, but his foundation also being firmly shook whenever there are obstacles. Some come in the form of animals (like the wolves), others in the form of the non-believing mice. Where at first Karic was no good at all in a fight, he has become a skilled fighter and as such, the challenges have moved from the previous form to more of the latter. And then the best is yet to come, we wish you the best of luck on the challenges ahead of you Karic...
Cassius, who accompanies Karic and has sworn his life to protect what Karic represents isn't on a much easier journey. He is haunted by his past (with good reason) and constantly questions the choices he made in his past (and with good reason). He is a sort of anti-hero but one of my favorite characters in the book. He's made some very difficult (and also some wrong) decisions in the past and is trying to make up for them by helping Karic. Though he first doesn't believe in 'the legend' any more than Karic himself does, he starts to see a possibility for all mice to be united once again. If anything would be worth fighting for for Karic, that would be it. The great redemption so to say. I only hope he lives to see the end of the series but I guess I'll have to wait a bit longer to see.
Captain Tosk, is the big villain in the series for me. Sure, he isn't the grand master, or Emperor if you will (input geek reference - check) but he is at the forefront of some of the most brutal rat on mice action I have ever seen! The recent issue dedicated to how Tosk came to be who he is today is disturbing to say the least but provides a lot of explanation on his behaviour.
The myths and legends are very interesting! I guess if you're prone to fantasy than this would be right up your alley. A lot of the myths used in the comic are related to real-life myths as we see them in our own world and the additional information on them at the back of each issue is very interesting reading material. Animal gods! It doesn't sound to different from what we would worship ourselves. The only animal god missing is the Great White shark, and perhaps a Tyranosaur... but at least a shark god
The artwork is great. I've had trouble telling Victor and Michael apart on the pages and didn't realise that Michael was doing the flashbacks until someone on the MT facebook page commented on it. Flashbacks are coloured in a 'washed out' style that clearly differentiate them from current events while still being visualy attractive.
If you've stuck with me this far, I hope I've managed to spark your interest in this great series. It's not too late to jump on board...
Kudos to Bryan, Michael, Victor and Serena for creating such a wonderful world and epic story! I'll be following this to the epic conclusion!
PS. And one of the best parts of it for me... Since I've come back into comics I've also started collecting some original comic art and have some pages and covers from this awesome series! It's really too cool to be able to open my portfolio and look through the original art and then go back and read the comics.
PPS. Any chance Brian, Michael and Victor are coming to a convention somewhere in Europe sometime? (preferably somewhere in the Netherlands?). I would love to meet you guys sometime...